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Departments | Spring 2019
Graphic: Musical Writing

Letter From the Editor

Open the Circle”, a CMN anthem/favorite by Frank Hernandez and Ted Warmbrand, is a cheery tune that invites us to take on the serious responsibility of making our community welcoming to everyone. It’s not a quick fix. As keynote speaker Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates told attendees of the 2018 conference, “Change is hard. Change is not comfortable.” Fortunately, the leaders, members, and authors of CMN are rising to the challenge. I’m excited to share with you Liz Buchanan’s probing feature on musicians of color—how they are expanding the repertoire of cultural music traditions to include music specifically for kids, and how the persistently white world of children’s music can become more welcoming to diverse voices. Meanwhile, new member Thiago Winterstein describes his radically inclusive public music lessons, showing how community can be built right on our neighborhood streets. And Mara Beckerman shares how she collected translations of a classic welcome song in order to make friends in many languages.

All columns in this issue encourage engaging others in song, whether it’s Brigid Finucane’s ideas for using dynamic physical activities with older students, or Peter Alsop’s suggestions for recording young singers. Songs include a feast of offerings shared at the Conference—plus an old favorite and the amazing young voices of I CAN South Sudan. Speaking of the Conference, look to our Reports section for lively reflections on (and photos of) some of the magic that took place on the shores of Lake Erie last October. 

Finally, I want to mention that our PIO! team is working to improve the journal’s accessibility to all users. Following principles set out by the Web Accessibility Initiative, your webmaster, Carl Foote, has made changes to optimize the journal for screenreaders, a type of technology used by readers with visual impairment. We will continue to learn about and implement changes that enhance access for people with disabilities. If you have feedback on our site’s accessibility or suggestions for improvement, please email me at

Read on, and keep that circle open!